Shannon and her friend, A, met when they were seven years old and living in Little Rock, Arkansas. Their families lived within easy walking distance and the two girls were inseparable. When they were 12, A moved to Texas with her parents, but the two friends stayed in touch, participated in each other’s weddings, and had children of their own.
More than 25 years after Shannon and A first met, their children finally got to know one another. Sure, A had brought her older (and at that time, only) daughter for a visit three years before that, but at one-year-old, the little one probably didn’t retain anything about our son Benjamin. Although he was one year her senior, Ben didn’t remember her.
They got along great, and the weekend’s only bad moment had nothing to do with the kids.
On our way down there on Friday night, after driving through a fast-food restaurant I took a very rare wrong turn and drove us 45 miles the wrong direction. Knowing we would arrive well after midnight, A and her husband, R, said they would leave the light on for us.
The bright moonlight outlined rolling hills surrounding their neighborhood — a refreshing change from the corn fields around ours. Unfamiliar trees made me feel I was in a foreign land.
It was nice to see that rather than removing all the trees from their lot, the builders had worked around the landscape to make the house a part of it.
Their daughters, C and M, are age four and two respectively. Although different from one another in several ways, both are smart and delightful. We can’t vouch for the one still inside A’s belly, but chances are people will enjoy being around her, too.
Benjamin, who had enjoyed five hours of sleep in the van before we hit the sheets at 1:15, woke me up at his usual 6:30 and we watched several deer come to within 15 feet of the back yard. I snapped what pictures I could without moving enough to frighten them. Considering that they had not budged while I played fetch with the family’s lab, I’m not sure that was much of a concern.
Harnessing the San Antonio River, the Riverwalk wends its way past restaurants and hotels old and new, many of them towering ominously above. There are a few other commercial properties thrown in for balance.
We ate at the Rainforest Cafe, figuring it would be entertaining for the kids. For mostly that reason, it ended up being the perfect choice. R and I walked around with the kids while we waited a long time for our food from a server who was, to put it mildly, inattentive. We marveled at the animatronic elephants, apes, and an alligator. On top of all that, real fish swam in real aquariums.
The next day started out somber but finished strong, when I found myself telling them, “I’ll catch up,” after I happened upon two prime photography subjects — one a rare treat, the other the largest of its species that most North American people will ever encounter.
More next time.